Emiyou Asmamaw

Because I understand the language, I don’t feel 100% foreign. On the other hand I haven’t got any Danish friends. So it is sort of fifty- fifty. But it does worry me that my children of eight and ten ask me if they are Danish, because they grew up here and have known nothing else.

The first thing that shocked me in Denmark was that you do not beat your children. In Ethiopia it is quite normal, so it took me by surprise. I am a trained auditor, but the Danish way of raising children caught my attention so I chose to study to be a pedagogue. The best thing about living in Denmark is that I don’t have to worry about my children’s future. If they become ill, they will get treatment at the hospital, and they can get an education here. But what I miss in the Danish society is more solidarity, at least among family members. When my husband fell ill I was left to cope on my own. I know a lot of people through my study and my work, but when my husband became ill it was just his family who supported me.

Here you only help the ones closest to you, and only if you have the energy for it. In Ethiopia you drop everything so that you can help whether you are an acquaintance or a work colleague. The values of people here are different. Maybe it is because we live in a rich country where you no longer need one another. There is such a big gap between people. Like I worked somewhere for five months, but nobody said anything but “hi” to me. I think that the human being has lost its value here in Denmark.

45 years / female / in a relationship / children / studies pedagogy / Fredensborg / from Ethiopia / came to Denmark in 2003 / residence permit same year